Re: SOC: Social Contract Education (Was: More Green Party)

From: Brian Atkins (
Date: Mon Jul 03 2000 - 09:32:45 MDT

Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> Max More wrote:
> >As part of my critical thinking class, I cover critical thinking
> >about investing and personal finance. I always ask how many of the
> >students have covered any of this before. Usually not one person
> >raises their hand. They seem to find that particular topic the most
> >engaging one of all. I'm always stunned to find that financial
> >planning, basic logic, and evolutionary theory, are almost never
> >taught in schools, at least based on the many hundreds of students I
> >have surveyed.
> I have had the same experience. There are certain core subjects that
> I think should be taught to everyone, but aren't. What would be a
> list of these subjects. I think we could agree on the common
> requirements, Reading, Writing, Arithmatic, Science, History.
> Literature, etc.
> The missing ones would probably include: Human Nutrition, Personal
> Finance, Comparative Political Systems, Comparative Economics,
> Self-Defense, Scientific Method, Logic, Philosophy, Art....

The problem here, which I haven't seen mentioned is that most of these
latter things are expected to be taught to people by their families
as they grow up. The fact that we have to now consider moving them
into schooling shows just how bad our "home education" system has
gotten in many cases. If you do try to move many of these subjects
into schools you are going to have a real debate on your hands as to
"what is the best diet?", "what are the best economic theories?",
"what is the best philosophy?".. you see where I am going. There would
be a huge flamewar in every school district. If the schools were
private though, it might work since each school could specialize in
a certain way of looking at the world and teach/brainwash that to
their students. Of course this viewpoint would be exactly the same as
the parents who are paying the fees- essentially getting the same effect
I think as if these subjects had simply been taught at home as they
are now. Am I cynical?

I think the most important underlying point is: just because a lot of
people happen to live in the USA doesn't mean they are well suited to
it. As has been noted, some people are in fact not even able to deal
with it. And some people like many on this list find it too restricting.
The education system is not going to totally fix this even if you were
able to agree on (good luck) a social contract curriculum. It's a deeper
problem I think- a one size fits all government applied to a bell curve
of people and lifestyles.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Oct 02 2000 - 17:33:53 MDT